The Beauty of Giving
Hey, all! Since I'm unemployed at the moment, I finally have some time to turn to my favorite thing: blogging. I'm battling a sinus infection and ended up in the hospital yesterday after being given medication I was allergic to. I live alone, which I do OK with, but I really hate being sick and alone, away from my family, so as I lay there in the hospital bed, I was tempted to get on a pity pot. Got no job, insurance is about to run out, and if I don't start temping next week, me and Queenie (my cat) are gonna be without food because I have no money left. We can always find reasons to complain or be down, but I also know that no matter what we're going through, someone always has it worse.
This week I took some time to catch up on Shawn's blogs from "The Sing Off". I noticed a lot of people saying how emotional this week's was, so I went to check it out, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I felt ashamed of myself after I read it, to be honest. First off, this is something I've known a very long time but bears repeating: you NEVER KNOW what someone is going through, what they're dealing with behind closed doors. This was my first time hearing that Shawn's son has autism, and I welled up because you know what? We sometimes think because he has money and fame and a a great job that those things can fix pretty much everything, and that's not always the case. It hurt me to read that he and his wife went through times of strain and blaming themselves because they are beautiful people, inside and out, and this is no fault of their own or anyone else's. Only God knows the answers we often lack. I also believe that God gifts some of us with these special children because He places them in hands He can trust and use. He needs vessels who will treat his children with compassion and extra tenderness. I believe that Shawn and Sharhonda are gifted to raise the children God has blessed them with, and even when they falter and times get hard, God always holds them in the palm of His hand, His unchanging hand.
Secondly, anyone who knows me knows I'm a Shawn fan and have been for the whole twenty years I've followed and loved this group, and I enjoy doing things for him and the other guys because they have impacted my life so deeply. I've gone from being a college student to being a 40-something woman with them. Many know my testimony from being in an abusive relationship to being raped to being mugged at gunpoint. I've been through a few things, and "Pass You By" is my life's theme song. That song got me through when I didn't think I could make it another minute. The words of that song gave me hope when I didn't think I had any hope left. And during my darkest hour when I had my suicide note written out, I played that song over and over, until that hour passed...and I lived. I lived for a reason. I lived for a purpose. And I could never thank this group enough. They don't even know all they've done for me. So if you wanna hate, go on, because that's an issue in you. It really doesn't have anything to do with me.
I have a heart full of love to the point of overflow because I don't have many directions in which to channel it, and yep, God made me a little different than some. People make fun of me for being such a strong part of a culture outside my own, and no, I don't always understand it myself. I have no idea where it comes from, but I believe one day God will reveal it all to me. I'm still shunned. Even at the show this week, there were women who wouldn't speak to me at our table. Shoot, somebody even pushed me. It's all good. I'm used to it, but for the most part, I've met some of the most amazing and wonderful people through this group. I wouldn't change a thing.
Laying there in that hospital bed, I was replaying some of the moments from the shows I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this week. I called my mother during "A Song for Mama", and Shawn sang his verse to her over my phone. She called me back, just sobbing, and I had a complete meltdown at the table. It's been me and my mom since I was 13, and nobody has loved and supported me through EVERYTHING like she has. When I didn't have anybody to go to a BIIM show with, it was my mom who made the 8 -hour drive with me. It was my mom who stayed up and called QVC, so I could have a BIIM singing teddy bear for Christmas. And it was my mom who sat by my side during the orchestra show in Pittsburgh, where again, Shawn serenaded her and blew her a kiss. My mom has battled through ovarian cancer, prescription drug addiction and too much to name here. I've almost lost her so many times, yet God has sustained her. And she is a praying woman, so when she called me, because of her concern for me, particularly at this time of joblessness, she just started praying. The guys don't know, but there was Holy Ghost fire coming through that phone. I was having church up in there! My gift of giving (because it is a gift) comes from her. She's a 50-year RN, and I can't tell you the times I've watched my mother give in countless ways, without looking for credit or recognition, like the time a woman's home burned down, and all she wanted was a jewelry box. I was with my mom when she drove to that house late at night and filled that woman's porch with clothes, food and yes, the jewelry box. She's one of God's angels. There is beauty in a truly giving heart that our jaded society seems to find fault with. Look at Michael Jackson. A true servant's heart that we mistreated. We abused the gift that was given to us, and now he's gone.
Again, thoughts of Shawn's situation played in my mind. He never complains, he constantly encourages US, he's always smiling, always sweet, always fair, always trying to make sure everyone is treated equally, with dignity and respect, always trying to give all of us attention, making us feel special, and I marveled over this. What "celebrity" can you think of who does this? I mean, he remembers so many of our names, where we live, all these small details about our lives. And think about his priorities. How can he even keep it all straight? His schedule boggled my mind, yet here he is, day after day, checking in on his FANS to make sure we're all right. And yet, we - and I say we because I've been guilty of this - sometimes come at him for ignoring us or not responding to us. It's a wonder he doesn't just throw up his hands and leave all of this social networking behind, yet he persists for US. I believe he has a genuine affection in his heart for all of us soldierz because, as he put it, our loyalty is flawless. But I had to take pause and think about things from his perspective. If I were trying to keep my family together, stay connected with my spouse, fly all over the world, record in the studio and be pulled in so many different directions, then I still make a LOT of attempts to stay in contact with fans only to be greeted with, "How come you answer her and not me?" "How come you never respond to my tweets?" "How come so-and-so gets all the love?" How would I feel? I hung my head in shame. He does his best for us. He tries hard all the time. This isn't to feel sorry for him, but rather, just to stop and think about the demands we sometimes put on others and maybe our own unrealistic expectations, and again, this is as much for me as anyone.
I know he's grown, and in many ways, he's been blessed beyond belief, but he doesn't have it all. Nobody does. So I just wanted to say think beyond yourself today. Somebody is going through right now. Somebody needs your voice. Somebody just needs to hear, "It's going to be all right."
I let my moment of pity go because trouble don't last always, and this, too, shall pass. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Sometimes we have to encourage ourselves! I'm gonna get a job. I'll have money again. I'll make it through. God didn't bring me this far to let me fall now, amen? Selah. As much as you can look for the negative, you can look for the good.
And I can chalk this lesson up to yet another thing I have gleaned from this group. I thank God for His wisdom and for sending me a reminder that we all are works in progress. Until the next time, #SOLFAM, I wish you health, love, peace, joy and blessings, from one soldier to another.